Tempers continue to flare between Uber drivers and metered taxi drivers in South Africa following the death of one of the Uber partner-drivers on Monday after he sustained injuries from an attack on June 10.
Lindelani Mashau, the Uber driver, died after battling for his life for weeks. He had been attacked with a petrol bomb while in his Uber vehicle in Pretoria, and had sustained critical injuries. It has been speculated that the fatal attack was undertaken by metered taxi drivers. On Monday, management from Uber met South Africa Police Service (SAPS) to carve a way forward in investigating the death of one of their drivers and to possibly put an end to the ongoing impasse.
Uber Africa spokesperson Samantha Allenburg said that the company is committed to open and transparent dialogue with all stakeholders on the future of mobility in South Africa. She also remarked, “We will continue to be a willing participant in all conversations.”
The recent wave of violence has attracted some castigation from Uber South Africa who have said that these actions do not represent the entire industry and that the violence and intimidation against those who choose to use technology apps, like Uber, must stop. However Gauteng Metered Taxi Council spokesperson Hendrick Ndou said that it was unfair to put all the blame on the metered taxi drivers, but also said that the council does not condone the spate of violence taking precedence.
“It’s a clash between the two groups. Our story can’t change. Our concern is that these people cannot use their private vehicles as public transport without having permits,” said Ndou.
Ndou also added, “Violence is something which is not needed. But we find ourselves in a case where we need the government through law enforcement to protect us and our industry. The law enforcers are nowhere to be found. It has been proved that these law enforcers have cars in the Uber platform. That’s why now, at the end of the day, we (metered taxis) face this ill-treatment.”
The altercations between the two have seen no-go areas being developed for Uber drivers. There are very specific no-go zones like the Summit Club in Hillbrow, Royal Park in Joubert Park, and the CBD (specifically around the Carlton Centre) is bad. All Gautrain stations (Park Station, Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro, Centurion, Hatfield and Pretoria) are also dangerous.